Westfield Friends School

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Middle School


Teacher Margaret has selected New Kid by Jerry Craft. as the book to be read by all rising Middle School Students. The novel has won numerous awards, including the Newbery Award, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers Literature, and it will serve as a springboard for many middle school discussions about stereotypes, acceptance, diversity, and transitions to new situations. Grades six, seven and eight, you will complete one of the activities described below and hand them in on the first day of school. 


  1. List the similarities and differences among two characters in New Kid, (you may do this in chart form, use a Venn diagram, or simply list). Write a paragraph explaining whether, in your opinion, the differences are more significant in their relationships or are the similarities more significant? 
  2. Jordan experiences many conflicts in the course of the novel. Select ONE internal conflict (a dilemma within the character) and TWO external conflicts (conflicts between characters). Create a diagram mapping the conflicts or a timeline of the conflicts. Write a paragraph explaining the causes of the conflicts and resolutions.
  3. Find two or three examples from the novel where art mirrors, contradicts or foreshadows the action in the story. In a paragraph, explain the role of art in the novel.
  4. Create your own 6 page “graphic novel” response to the novel.

Students in grades six, seven, and eight will also be responsible for reading two (2) books from the lists below. For each book you read, send me, Valerie Parry, an email vparry@westfieldfriends.org over the summer telling me what you loved about the book, or what you didn’t like. Of course if you are interested in reading more than two books, feel free to do so! Send Teacher Margaret a postcard with your thoughts about the books. I look forward to hearing about the books you’ve selected! Please make sure I’ve received your emails about both books you read before the first day of school. When you have exhausted these lists, see the other resources, below.